Is Your Pool Builder Giving You a Thorough Estimate?
“That’s going to cost you more.” This is the one statement that no homeowner wants to hear after construction has begun on their pool project. Whether it’s work within the scope of the pool builder or accessory items required for the pool to pass inspections, your builder should be able to provide an accurate quote for everything that will be required for your pool. We spoke with Aimee Elam, Pleasure Pools’ lead designer to find out more.
“There have been numerous times I’ve been working with a potential client who informs me that they prefer us to another builder, but can’t justify paying sometimes thousands of dollars more for what is seemingly an ‘apples to apples’ proposal. In any of those cases, when I’m allowed the opportunity to compare my proposal with the other builders, line for line, it’s never the same items included. It’s unfortunate, but not uncommon for other builders to use vague proposals to make it appear as if they are offering a comparable estimate.”
Here is a list of items in which Aimee has often discovered discrepancies when comparing her estimates:
Type of Equipment Included
“This is usually the number one place to look for a difference in proposals. Pool equipment can vary greatly in technology and energy efficiency, and therefore cost. To be sure that the items you are looking at are the same, request that your builder give you the model or part number for the items they are including.”
Square Footage of Pool and Deck Included
“As shocking as it may sound, I’ve seen proposals where the square footage of the pool or deck was an approximate number. There should be no reason your builder can’t provide you the exact square footage for what is being provided.”
Type of Materials Being Used
“There is a large price point difference between, say, standard white marble plaster, and something like a pebble plaster. The same is true for any other aesthetic choice you can make regarding your pool. To be sure, your builder should include specifics on types of materials included in the proposal.”
Scope of Work by Builder
“I had one potential client call me to tell me he was on his way to sign a contract with another builder, even though we were his first choice. He explained that the other builder was $5,000 less than we were. I told him that I understood his situation, but please let me just look at the proposal before he signs it. After reviewing the other builder’s proposal, it turns out the other builder didn’t include any decking! There are lots of builders that will leave out critical aspects of the project, either because they can’t do it or just don’t want to. Either way, if there are critical items required for the project to be completed, like decking, or electrical, there should be some explanation of that to the homeowner.
Furthermore, if the builder can’t or won’t take on these critical items, that to me would be a red flag. If the homeowner has to essentially be the subcontractor for these other items critical to the completion of the job, who are they to turn to when it’s time to warranty those items? Ideally, you should only have to work with your pool builder to supervise and warranty any items that are a critical portion of the pool project.”
Including Appropriate Fill and Support Footings for the Deck
“If your yard has a significant slope, then typically a good portion, if not all, of your deck will be above grade, therefore needing additional fill and footings on the perimeter to support the elevation of the deck. Those items mean more cost for labor and materials, but I’ve seen many builders address this by just using the dirt excavated from the pool to make up the difference underneath the deck. That is sometimes possible, but not always. The professional way to address it is to use a certain grade of fill under the deck, and also provide a stable concrete footing at the perimeter to ensure that the new fill stays in place.”
Aimee went on to say that your builder should also point out other potential costs in relation to having a pool installed.
“If I’m meeting with a client at their home, and I noticed that they don’t have gutters or that their fence won’t be compliant once they have a pool, as the expert I should be the one to point that out to them. Even though it’s not technically within the scope of my work, it’s still a possible unforeseen cost that I want the homeowner to be aware of.”
Have more questions about pool installation or want to start your dream project? Call the pros at Pleasure Pools at (504) 888-6660 or (985) 626-1283.